After 20 years of development, ' OPV' may be about to become a household name thanks to Proxy...

A company montage displaying multi-aircraft configuration.

Manufacturer:  Proxy Aviation Systems, Inc., Germantown, Maryland

Type:  optionally-piloted version of Velocity XL-RG canard pusher

Program:  SkyForce unmanned aircraft system (UAS) (proprietary)

Powerplant: unspecified

Significant date: 2005

Founded in 2003, Proxy Aviation Systems, Inc. is headquartered in Germantown, Maryland. The company is led by a team of executives with more than 100 years combined experience in manned and unmanned aircraft (UA) development and manufacturing, supported by extensive experience in systems integration and combat operation. Proxy Aviation is supported by senior advisors including retired flag officers from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.

Proxy Aviation is committed to the advancement of unmanned aviation and is developing an advanced unmanned aircraft system (UAS) designed to execute both low-end strategic and high-end tactical critical missions for use by the United States military, the Department of Homeland Security, and in emerging civil and international applications. Both highly autonomous and optionally piloted, Proxy Aviation’s system is designed to fly solo or in constellation formation, enabling the execution of surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, intelligence collection, battle damage assessment (BDA), urban warfare, communications data relay and other missions, while using fewer resources and personnel.

Unmanned aviation has proven its value in Iraq and Afghanistan by carrying out critical missions without putting pilots in harm’s way. Though there are a variety of very effective unmanned systems in service, they are not providing the advanced capabilities that are now possible—leaving a significant gap between what is needed and what is available today. Proxy Aviation is committed to closing this gap in unmanned aviation by offering a long endurance, low and medium altitude, multi-payload system with capabilities that surpass other unmanned aircraft systems in the market.

SkyForce is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) consisting of three main components linked together via the SkyForce network-centric command and control software. The system consists of multiple, optionally piloted, unmanned aircraft; with quick change payloads; a primary mission-management ground control station; and remote and mobile user terminals. These three essential components, give the mission commander a high performance, long endurance, multi-payload type unmanned aircraft system that can be configured with different payload types.

Requiring fewer resources and personnel than established systems to complete any of these applications, Proxy Aviation’s SkyForce is transforming intelligence in unmanned aircraft missions, providing the armed forces with a greater range of capabilities at a significantly lower cost. Created for long endurance, low and medium altitude, multi-aircraft, multi-payload missions, SkyForce’s aircraft are based on a modified Velocity platform with an aviation fuel certified conventional aircraft engine. The system also offers a heavy fuel propulsion option for lower fuel consumption and increased endurance. The platform has a large payload bay with payload carriers for quick change to meet varying mission requirements. The aircraft also accommodates a single pilot for optionally-piloted flight. The SkyForce fleet of unmanned aircraft currently includes:

- SkyWatcher: designed for long endurance, low and medium altitude, multi-payload intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
- SkyRaider: designed to operate at higher speeds and equipped to carry stores on its wing stations.

The versatility of SkyForce’s payload options, network-centric mission-management configuration and full coverage end-user tasking enable the system to be implemented in a variety of applications. With payload control from the user terminal, the operator commands the payload in the area of interest to execute mission requirements.

The SkyForce unmanned aircraft can autonomously scan a series of predetermined target locations providing the operator with a continuous view of his area of interest without interruption. The aircraft will follow the necessary flight path to surveil these targets while evading any other defined areas of avoidance.

The SkyWatcher aircraft was unveiled for the first time on June 27, 2005 at the 3rd UAV Flight Demonstration at the Webster Field Annex of the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland. The aircraft made quite a media sensation, flanked by both Boeing's X-45C and Northrop Grumman's X-47B J-UCAS contenders.

Population: prototype [N20PX] and more to be built

Wingspan: 31 ft.
Length: 20 ft.
Height: 7 ft. 9 in.
Canard span: 18 ft. 8 in.
Empty weight: 1600 lbs.
Take-off weight: 3,200 lbs.
Payload bay volume: 4 ft. x 2.5 ft. x 2 ft.(max)
Payload bay capacity: 650 lbs. for 20 hours, 330 lbs. for 30 hours
Wing stations: 160 lbs.
Mission management: Ground Control Station

Cruise speed: 175 ktas
Loiter speed: 105 ktas
Altitude: 20,000 feet
Endurance: 20-30 hours

Crew/passengers: 1 or none

Main sources:
- Proxy Aviation Systems website